Cargo Insurance FAQ: Full Container Loads

December 31, 2022

Cargo Insurance

The following FAQs are for general guidance only and apply to full container loads. They do not form part of, modify, enhance or diminish the terms and conditions of the policy. The insurance policy is underwritten by a leading marine insurance company with an “A” rating for AM Best and placed by a specialist cargo insurance agent.

What does All Risk mean and what does it cover:

It means the cargo is insured on an All-Risk basis against external physical loss or damage while in the ordinary course of transit. Major exclusions include but are not limited to loss of sales or profit due to delay, inherent vice, improper packaging; damages caused by pandemics, rust, oxidation, discoloration, and corrosion; ordinary wear and tear, and any pre-existing conditions.

Non-Approved or restricted commodities may be subject to a deductible or special terms. Refrigerated or temperature-controlled cargo is subject to the reefer breakdown/derangement clause.

When does Cargo Insurance start and end?

Coverage may be applied throughout the entire supply chain including door-to door, door-to-port, port-to-door moves, as determined by the terms of sale (Incoterms) of the transaction, including inland multimodal transit between the warehouse and the port or airport.

How much does it cost?

Whitehall endeavors to provide its clients with the lowest cost of risk possible without compromising coverage. Traditional cargo insurance pricing is based on a rate per $100 of value insured. EXAMPLE. A shipment with an insured value of $100,000 with a .20 per $100 rate would cost $200.  This is also often expressed as a percentage. $100,000 x .20% = $200. 

Is there any insurance coverage that I don’t have to pay for?

All-Risk Cargo Insurance is provided at an additional charge, and it is reflected on the bill of lading, airway bill or invoice.  If you don’t buy coverage, then the carrier’s legal liability limit applies. The applicable limits of liability are determined by international approved conventions and vary depending on the mode of transportation of the goods.

Are there any deductibles?

General approved merchandise is typically insured without a deductible; however, adding a deductible to your policy will result in more favorable pricing.  Deductibles may also vary depending on the type of commodity and the insured values.

Does Cargo Insurance provide coverage for the equipment (chassis, container, genset) as well as the cargo?

Coverage is only provided to the merchandise being transported, not to the container used.

Is coverage provided for sales lost due to delays?

Consequential damages such as losses due to delay are not recoverable under cargo insurance policies.

Does cargo insurance cover damages to merchandise in the container due to shifting or loading?

Generally, cargo loaded by an independent third party is covered against damage due to load shifting. Where loading is performed by the shipper or a representative of the shipper, damage due to load shifting may be excluded due to improper/inadequate packaging of the load.

Is coverage provided against cargo damage resulting from a motor vehicle accident in route to a customer or port?

If the inland movement is in the ordinary course of transit between warehouse and warehouse, then loss or damage due to an accident to the carrying conveyance are covered.

Is cargo covered if it is stolen from the consignee’s facility after delivery?

Coverage does not extend beyond delivery, unless previous approval has been obtained from the insurance company.

Can I insured a shipment for a portion of its value or not include insurance and freight in the insured value?

The majority of cargo insurance policies requires shipment to be insured at Cost + Fright + 10%.  As an option, Whitehall offers shippers the ability to insure shipments at a portion of the value in exchange for a flat premium.

Can I insure for a higher value?

When specifically negotiated with Underwriters, cargo can be insured for more than the actual value, but typically only up to a certain extent.

If my shipment is stolen or destroyed, does coverage include total loss?

Subject to policy terms and conditions, coverage under an open cargo policy includes both partial and total losses.

How do you determine the value of privately owned vehicles, motorcycles, or boats?

In the absence of a commercial invoice or bill of sale, valuation is based on the fair market value of the automobile, motorcycle or boat at the time of shipping, as determined by a reputable third party valuation company.

How do you determine the value of household goods and personal effects?

Valuation of each household good or personal effect item is based on actual cash value of the items, at the time of shipping, where actual cash value is the cost to replace the lost or damaged item with other property of like kind and quality. Claims will be adjusted based on the lesser of the cost of repairing or replacing the lost or damaged item with another item of like kind and quality.

Who do I contact if I need to file a claim, and when do I need to contact them?

All claims are to be reported as soon as you are aware. If you have a Cargo Certificate of Insurance, contact the surveyor listed on the reverse of the certificate. In addition, please notify Whitehall at  and/or complete the first notice of claim form found on

Can you cover multiple shipments moving over different vessels/ bills of lading?

Yes, but from an insurance standpoint, they are considered separate shipments, covered and invoiced separately on a per-container or per-bill of lading basis.

Can all cargo/commodities be covered by cargo insurance?

All merchandise other than Non-Approved Merchandise may be covered under the open cargo policy. Non- Approved Merchandise MAY be covered if referred to and accepted by the insurer in advance of movement.

The list of Non-Approved Merchandise is:

  • Accounts, Bills, Evidence of Debt, Deeds, Notes, and Securities
  • Antiques
  • Art Works
  • Bulk Shipments loaded directly into the hold of a vessel
  • Bullion, Money, Bank Notes, Currency, Coins, Checks, Credit Cards


  • Computer Microchips
  • Furs and Fur Garments
  • Jewelry – Fine and Costume
  • Stamps
  • Living Things including but not limited to BloodStock, Livestock
  • Negotiable Documents
  • Precious Stones, Metals or Objects
  • Watches and Watch Parts

Can you cover multiple shipments moving for a specific project over a period of time on one ”blanket” certificate?

Although all containers under a project can be considered for insurance, coverage is arranged on a per container or per shipment basis.

The only way to protect your cargo against loss is to have cargo insurance coverage. If you don’t currently have an experienced cargo insurance agent to guide you through the process, we invite you to contact Whitehall Insurance, before your next cargo move.

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